Darkness (2002)

Darkness
Director: Jaume Balagueró
Writer: Jaume Balagueró, Fernando de Felipe
Cast: Anna Paquin, Lena Olin, Iain Glen, Giancarlo Giannini, Fele Martínez, Stephan Enquist
Seen on: 01.04.2015

Plot:
Regina (Anna Paquin) and her family – mother Maria (Lena Olin), father Mark (Iain Glen) and her little brother Paul (Stephen Enquist) – have just moved to Spain. Her father used to grow up there, but left the country when he was a child. His father Albert (Giancarlo Giannini) is still there, though, and looking forward to his grandchildren. But there is something about the rather remote house they’re living that doesn’t seem quite right. And it doesn’t take long until mysterious things start happening.

Darkness has its moments, but it also has an insistent and incessant sound design that annoyed the hell our of me and surprisingly weak performances by its cast.

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Night Train to Lisbon (2013)

Night Train to Lisbon
Director: Bille August
Writer: Greg Latter, Ulrich Herrmann
Based on: Pascal Mercier‘s novel Nachtzug nach Lissabon
Cast: Jeremy Irons, Martina Gedeck, Jack Huston, Mélanie Laurent, Lena Olin, August Diehl, Bruno Ganz, Tom Courtenay, Charlotte Rampling

Plot:
Raimund (Jeremy Irons) is a teacher who leads a rather lonely life. But it takes a sudden turn, when he keeps a young woman from comitting suicide who leaves her coat with him. Inside that coat he finds a book and train tickets to Lisbon. The book resonates with him, so on a whim he boards the train to find the author of the book. But instead of finding the author, he finds a whole story of love and betrayal during António de Oliveira Salazar‘s dictatorship.

There is only word I can use to describe Night Train to Lisbon: boring. It was so boring, I fell asleep for half an hour during the film. And despite cutting the movie short that way, it was still way too long.

night_train_to_lisbon

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The United States of Leland (2003)

The United States of Leland
Director: Matthew Ryan Hoge
Writer: Matthew Ryan Hoge
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Don Cheadle, Jena Malone, Lena Olin, Chris Klein, Michelle Williams, Kevin Spacey (and about 2 minutes of Michael Peña)

Plot:
The distant Leland (Ryan Gosling) just stabbed a mentally disabled boy and is sent to prison. Nobody really understands why he did it and his prison teacher (and aspiring writer) Pearl (Don Cheadle) is so intrigued that he wants to write a book about him. So he starts interviewing Leland about his life and tries to figure out what moved him to such a desperate act.

The United States of Leland has a wonderful cast but despite Ryan Gosling giving his best, Leland as a character just doesn’t work at all. Nevertheless the film is interesting, if completely predictable.

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Remember Me (2010)

Remember Me is the newest movie by Allen Coulter, starring The Emo Prince of Emoness Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Chris Cooper, Lena Olin, Ruby Jerins and Pierce Brosnan.

Plot:
Tyler (Robert Pattinson) has trouble coping with the death of his brother. (We know that because he smokes. And looks sad.) One night, he gets into a fight, trying to protect a few strangers from other strangers. (Because he’s self-destructive. Geddit?) When the police shows up, the detective in charge (Chris Cooper) is about to let Tyler and his best friend Aidan (Tate Ellington) go, when Tyler has to show that he really doesn’t care about himself, only about ideals, when he attacts said police men because Tyler feels that Police Guy doesn’t do his job. Both Tyler and Aidan are then arrested.
A few weels later, Aidan digs up the info that Police Guy has a daughter, Ally, (Emilie de Ravin) and he tells Tyler to get back at Police Guy by sleeping with his daughter [yes, they’re still living in the middle ages where young girls don’t have sex and are only tools to settle scores between the menfolk]. Tyler complies, even though a little unwillingly. But what no-one [except the entire audience] ever expected was that Ally and Tyler actually fall in love.

Oh bloody hell, people, this movie was bad. It was not only ridiculous per se, but it has no redeeming feature whatsoever. The acting was bad [how the hell did they get Pierce Brosnan to do this? I mean, that guy is not famous for his taste his movies but he usually does better than this…], the editing was absolutely gruesome [with continuity errors that actually made me flinch] but the worst offender was the script which just made me want to barf. And then, it doesn’t even have the decency to be funny in its badness. Instead it’s just boring. Man, I don’t even know where to start with ripping this movie apart.

[SPOILERS]

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The Reader (2008)

The Reader is the Oscar winning movie based on Bernhard Schlink‘s novel, directed by Stephen Daldry, written by David Hare and starring Kate Winslet, David Kross, Ralph Fiennes and Lena Olin.

Plot:
Michael Berg (David Kross/Ralph Fiennes) is fifteen, when he meets Hanna (Kate Winslet), who is about 20 years his senior. They start having an affair and Hanna insists more and more that Michael reads to her. Their affair lasts for a summer, then Hannah disappears.
Michael goes on to study the law. When one of his teachers (Bruno Ganz) brings him to a trial of concentration camp guards, Michael recognises Hanna as one of the accused.
What ensues is a look at responsibility and guilt, pride and choices.

The movie is very well done, but it’s missing one essential thing: the personal connection. You don’t feel with the characters, you don’t care too much about them. All of the important things speak to your head – and that’s not enough to make for a really compelling film.

the-reader

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